RFly Drones Rule The Warehouse

Trying to keep track of everything in a warehouse is incredibly tedious and ultimately not possible. Until now.


(MIT drones finding missing objects>)

Imagine, a future where drones buzz around warehouses, scanning box after box of inventory, taking a single day to do the work that might take weeks for a team of humans.

But thereís one obvious problem thatís preventing these ultra-cheap, battery-free smart stickers from becoming the industry standard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer Fadel Adib tells Inverse. That problem is distance.

ďIf you want to use RFID tags for inventory control, they only work from a very limited rangeĒ of about a few centimeters away from the reader, he says. Although they only cost a few cents, are powered wirelessly, and can make the inventory-logging process vastly more efficient, the savings donít add up because the work still requires humans to move through shelf after shelf, often in a massive warehouse, to manually read every object...

The MIT research team developed an aerial drone system capable of reading RFID tags from tens of meters away and identifying the location of the package within a 19-centimeter radius of accuracy. The drone system, called RFly, should allow for RFID-based inventory to be accomplished in large warehouses in a matter of hours or days, versus weeks and months the olí fashioned way.

I'm pretty sure engineer and science fiction writer James P. Hogan had this problem fixed (at least imaginatively) in his 1979 novel The Two Faces of Tomorrow; he used them as repair drones:

A sudden rushing sound, like that of high-velocity ducted air, mixed with a fainter electric whine, came from halfway up the wall to their right... It was an array of open compartments that looked like pigeon holes for mail, except that each was a foot or more square...

As they watched speechless, it slid smoothly out of its cell like a metal wasp emerging from its nest, and hung in midair a foot or so in front of the pigeonholes...

The wasp homed unerringly on the face of the honeycomb. It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock onto the registration pins located at intervals across the face and then, holding itself quite steady in the air, traversed slowly sideways until its axis was aligned with the array element from which Chris had taken the cartridge. Nobody could see quite what happened next because the wasp was flush against the face, but suddenly the widget-maker clicked into life again. The wasp detached itself and turned back to point at its cell. There was no need for Hayes to explain what had happened. It didn't take much thought to see that other wasps, equipped with suitable tools and carrying the right selection of parts, could replace far more things than just electronic microcartridges, provided of course that the equipment being serviced had been designed for it. "They're called drones," Hayes told them. "I'm sure I don't have to spell out the idea."

Via Inverse.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/11/2017)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Index of related articles:

What is RFID?
How RFID Works
How is RFID used inside a living body?
What can RFID be used for?
Is RFID Technology Secure and Private?
Are There Concerns About How RFID Will Be Used? (Update)
Next-Generation Uses of RFID?
What Are Zombie RFID Tags?
RFID Information Technology Articles
Problems With RFID
Advantages of RFID Versus Barcodes
RFID Glossary
Contactless Credit Card Advantages
Contactless Credit Card Disadvantages

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
''Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...' - Andre Laurie, 1895.

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.' - Larry Niven, 1970.

Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...' - Paul Di Filippo, 1985

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

Jaguar I-Pace Audible Vehicle Alert System For EVs
'Of course not a vehicle moved by means of internal explosions of a derivative of rock oil...'

Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

Birds Aren't Real - Wake Up, California! (With Bird Watching Guide)
'When he had first built them, they had been crude indeed, flying mechanisms with little more than a reflex-response unit.'

Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.'

IRL Glasses Block Screens, Limit Vision To Real Life
'If you couldn't see the ads, how would you know what was fashionable?'

Testing The Single-Person Spacecraft
'...the lower part of the suit was simply a rigid cylinder.'

Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'

Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics
'Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?'

BrainNet Social Network Of Brains
'I used my implant to tell MILLIE what we wanted and she took care of it'

Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
'Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...'

IONITY Opens First 10 Fast-Charging Stations
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.